Off the record

Unkept word

Promises, especially those by politicians, are made to be broken. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav may be a vete­ran politician but this realisation dawned on him quite late. Finding himself outsmarted by his nephew, Shivpal simply recited “kasme, vade, pyar, wafa... vaadein hain vaadon ka kya”  (vows, promises, love, loyalty... all these are mere promises worth nothing), an old song by the legendary Manna Dey in Manoj Kumar’s movie Upkar.

One should never bank on promises even though they are made by someone very close to you, the Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, who was dethroned by Akhilesh as the state unit president of the party, sighed at a function in Lucknow recently. Shivpal should have had a better idea of how promises work, for he must have seen his elder brother and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ditching his former Janata Parivaar leaders on several occasions.
Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow

Gen v Capt

Two famous Army personnel are battling it out for the Patiala urban seat in Punjab. Former Army chief General J J Singh, who has joined the Akali Dal, is running against Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh.

Gen J J Singh kickstarted his campaign, declaring that Capt Amarinder Singh had only served a VIP stint in the Army. “This man can’t even walk 10 km. I may be 70-plus but I have the physique of a 17-year-old... Amarinder hardly served for three years but prattles off his service record like a veteran.”

In response, Amarinder pointed out that Gen Singh has had no connection whatsoever with Patiala. “He says Patiala is his “nanke” (maternal grandparents’ home). And, as the saying goes, hum unko naani yaad dila denge (we will make him recall his origins),” Amarinder said in a lighter vein.
Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Penning his thoughts

One more politician has decided to pick up the pen. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah will turn a writer this year with his part memoir, part history and part analysis My Kashmir. The book will analyse the problems that beset the troubled state that was “born in fire and blood,” as the publisher claims.

Abdullah is expected to provide an “unprecedented clarity” about the present situation in Kashmir as well as offer rare insights into Kashmiri politics and the Abdullah family. The book is likely to hit the stands in November.

This is not the first memoir from the family. Om­ar’s grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah, had written an autobiography The Blazing Chinar which was translated into English by Mohammad Amin. An abrid­ged version of the same was translated by Khushwant Singh.
Shemin Joy, New Delhi

Caught cashless

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cashless initiative has pushed Union ministers to go on a digital drive. Several of them were seen indulging in PR exercises to showcase their skills with mobile payment gateways and plastic money.

While Textiles Minister Smriti Irani posted pictures of her making a digital payment at a roadside eatery near Chandigarh, Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan went on an overdrive to promote e-payments in canteens inside the Krishi Bhawan that houses both their ministries.

Much to his dismay, Singh appeared quite unaware about the use of mobile wallets which were accepted at the canteen. One of the journalists accompanying the minister saved him the blushes by settling the bill for tea and snacks using his mobile wallet.
Sagar Kulkarni, New Delhi

Unfinished business

The Andhra Pradesh government was keen on holding its Assembly and Council meetings at the interim government complex since long. However, it was forced to defer its decision as construction of the interim Assembly took time. This time, though, the Assembly speaker declared that the belated winter session will be held at the temporary Assembly at any cost.

But Velagapudi is abuzz with jokes over the builder’s apparent forgetfulness to fix an entry and an exit door for the press gallery. The press, they joked, would have to walk through the Assembly floor. After the legis­lative affairs minister identified the lacuna, however, steps are being taken to rectify it. This rumour stemmed from another such mistake by the construction firms that built the complex. The civil engineers had forgotten to build restrooms in each floor and the problem was spotted at a much later stage.
JBS Umanadh, Hyderabad

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